Five Great Places to Eat in Los Angeles

164500384If Los Angeles is on your travel bucket list, you’re sure to be enamored with all that there is to do. From historic landmarks, to the incredible array of performing arts, to museums, galleries, sports events and more, there’s something for everyone in the City of Angels. While you’re there, of course you’ll have to eat, and you won’t be disappointed by the wide variety of restaurants, stands and ethnic stores in which to grab a bite or to sit down and enjoy a leisurely meal. The diverse cultures within the boundaries of Los Angeles have produced a tantalizing array of cuisines. You can have huevos rancheros for breakfast, falafel for lunch and sushi for dinner, all within the same neighborhood.

Here are five great places to eat in Los Angeles, no matter what your fancy:

  • Wurstküche: This German eatery and biergarten is located 800 E 3rd Street in downtown LA. Here, you’ll be able to dine on exotic sausages, served on rolls with a variety of toppings, like onions, sauerkraut, sweet and spicy peppers, and, of course, a nice selection of gourmet mustards. Accompanying your sausage should be a serving of delectable Belgian fries, dipped in bleu cheese sauce, flavored ketchups, barbecue sauce, peanut sauce or, do like many Germans do and choose a flavored mayonnaise. Choose from bottled or on-tap Belgian, German, North American or British beers, as well.

  • Jitlada Restaurant:  If you are in the mood for authentic Thai food, Jitlada Restaurant, located at 5233 1/2 West Sunset Blvd, should fit the bill perfectly. While the menu includes popular foods from all over Thailand, such as tom ka soup and pad thai, its true specialty is spicy and flavorful cuisine from Southern Thailand, such as curries with sataw beans, fish rubbed with turmeric, and mango salad with cashews.

  • Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery:  If you are looking for the best sandwich in LA, you won’t want to pass by Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery. The bread is freshly baked, and you’ll find a good variety of domestic and imported cheese and meat. Far from being just a deli, this restaurant also serves pasta dishes and other Italian specialties. Stop in at 1517 Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica, and feel free to call ahead or order online so that your meal is ready to go when you arrive.

  • Baco Mercat:  Those who are into culinary fusion will definitely want to make sure to schedule a visit to Baco Mercat. The tastes that you will encounter will range from Italian or French cuisine, to that from China, the southern USA, the middle east and Peru. They were named the Best New Restaurant in 2012, and they’ve kept up their impressive menu since. The eatery is located at 408 S. Main Street in downtown Los Angeles.

  • Hatfields:  The changing seasonal menus are driven by what’s available in the market, and dishes are designed to maximize the natural flavors of the fresh ingredients. Owned by young couple Karen and Quinn Hatfield (he’s the chef, she’s the pastry chef), this is one of the most exciting restaurants to open in recent years. Don’t think about leaving without dessert. A perennial favorite is a variation on beignets with chocolate, served with a shot of the preserved ginger milkshake.

No matter where you are in LA, if you are having trouble settling on a place to eat, just ask a few of the locals for suggestions. You’ll get a wide variety of answers, which will be a testament to the wide range of ethnicities and cultures in this city.

Have you eaten in Los Angeles lately? What are some restaurants that you will be sure to return to?

 

How to Save Over $3K in One Year For Travel

piggybanktravelTrying to save up for that grand vacation that you’ve always dreamed of, but you just can’t seem to find any spare cash? Everyone loves to travel, but for many people, a lack of sufficient funds keeps them from exploring new places. If you’re one of these people, never fear! You can stop day dreaming, and make it happen.

Here is a list of 10 easy ways to cut back on everyday expenditures so that you can go on the vacations of your dreams.

1. Start your savings by lower your utility bills at home. You will be surprised how much you can save just by turning off the lights in each room as you leave, or turning off the air-conditioning and opening up your windows. Change your air filters so the unit works efficiently.  Unplug items when they are not in use including computers, microwaves and toaster ovens. Standby power can amount to as much as 10% of your monthly bill.  Use energy efficient light bulbs.  Take shorter showers.  You should easily be able to save $25 per month by implementing these changes.  Put the money that you would normally have paid  for the electric bills aside (around $300 for the year,) for your new travel fund.

2. Cut out unnecessary channels on your cable television package. You pay a huge premium for sports and movie channels that may not be worth having. Many of the same things can be found on your computer for free. Changing from a premium to basic cable package can easily save you $75 per month.  That’s $900 more into your travel fund.

3. Unless you really love going to the gym, memberships can be quite costly, and many exercises do not require the use of an indoor facility or equipment. Yoga, running, bike riding, aerobics, dance and more can easily be done in the comfort of your home, in a park or on the beach.  Average gym memberships run $40 per month – you’ve got another $480 you can save up.

4. Use less money for gas. Car pool when you can.  Make to do lists and plan your trips so that you run your errands all in one day, versus going to the grocery store every few days because you forgot something.  If you can stand the heat, don’t use the AC constantly in your car.  Park in the shade when you can to avoid the car from heating up. Walk or ride a bike to places that are within a close proximity to you. This is good, not only for increasing your travel savings, but for your health as well.  You should easily be able to save at least $25 per month ($300 annually) in gas.

5. Save on your grocery shopping by utilizing coupons, sales and local markets that will discount your weekly food costs. If you normally budget $100 per week on food, try to reduce this by $10 dollars and put the excess money away for your next trip. That’s $480 in one year.

6. If you’ve got some expensive bad habits, like smoking or drinking in excess, minimize the amount of time your partaking in these activities so that the money that is so quickly wasted away can be saved for a more exciting adventure. When you do go out, look for happy hour specials. Remember alcohol is marked up around 40%, so buy your own bottle of wine and have it at home.  Since these expenses do not apply to everyone, we will not factor them into the travel budget.

7. Instead of shopping for new clothes each season, try to recycle your clothes to fit the following season. Jeans can be cut into shorts; sweaters and long sleeved shirts can be cut into tanks. It’s easy and fun to be creative with fashion. Learn to utilize what you have. Shop seasonally. Keep an eye out for stores clearing their racks of inventory in anticipation for the next season. Also consider outlet stores.  Since most women are shoppers and men tpyically are not, we are going to be conservative and say that you can save $300 off your shopping budget each year.

8. In the evening, rent a movie online. Cinemas are expensive these days – easily $30 – $40 just to get into the movies not to mention the concession stand, so keep the money that you would be spending on popcorn, drinks and a movie and stay in for the night. You can rent Redbox movies instead for $1 or Netflix for $10 per month. We won’t factor any savings in this category, but you know if it applies to you.

9. Stop dining out at restaurants. It’s much more economical to eat in. Try out some new recipes and enjoy the dining in the comfort of your own home. Keep at an eye out for dining deals on sites like Groupon or Restaurant.com.   Bring your lunch to work. Also, avoid buying overpriced coffee from places, like Starbucks. You’ll be surprised how much you can save!  On a very conservative forecast, let’s say you would save just $20 per week in this category weekly, by just bringing your lunch with you daily – that’s $1,040 per year.  For those of you who eat lunch out every day, the savings could easily be over the $1,500 mark.

10. Finally, make a few extra bucks by selling off all your clutter items on eBay or by having a yard sale. As the old saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  You never know what people will buy. You won’t miss having the mess, while your vacationing in the Caribbean, Europe or wherever you decide to go.

So there you have it – at least $3,500 for a vacation accomplished in just one year by just being a little more mindful about your expenses.  If you are willing to make more significant lifestyle changes in order to pursue your passion for travel, like moving back home temporarily, you could easily save more than double that amount.

Trust us – it will be worth it.  Travel can change your life.

 

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